this post’s title is total click bait. the truth is, there are few material things you can buy to make you happy. our brains might get a rush of seratonin when we buy something new, but it’s fleeting. depending on the item or cost, it may even create buyer’s remorse.
while i love a nice handbag or new face cream, those things don’t bring me joy. they simply embody my true loves of style and self-care.
i’ve gotten into lots of financial and spiritual trouble when struggling to figure out what truly makes me happy. i was seeking comfort from stuff i didn’t need to impress people i didn’t know. this was a sign that i desperately needed validation, something that can only come from within.
it’s time to break old habits and use your money with intention.
five things to buy now to make you happier
make a monthly contribution to a good cause
studies show that giving to others makes us feel better about ourselves. in fact, it triggers our mesolimbic system, the part of our brains that controls the feelings of reward. sometimes called a “helper’s high,” people who are cheerful givers aren’t just happy to be of service, but are actually experiencing the neurological benefit of giving.
don’t know where to give? some of my faves are the aclu, african american policy forum, my local humane society, equal justice initiative, southern poverty law center and faith-based institutions like church. you can also start a giving circle with friends and spread the love to causes you create.
use your vacation days for a staycation
if you’re anything like me, then you hold on to your vacation days for dear life. i left my last job with two weeks of paid vacation that was cashed out. i was happy to have the extra coins, but what if i had actually used those days to take a vacation or better yet used a day a month as a staycation?
let me say this loudly: USE YOUR VACATION DAYS. americans have such a twisted view of taking time off. as if we haven’t earned the right to sit on the couch and do nothing on a weekday. the more i research the danish concept of hygge, the more i realize people in other parts of the world aren’t tied to their desks. they take a day off to rest and recharge.
buy a journal and a good pen
there’s no better time to start writing than write now (pun intended, corny i know). try weaving journal writing into your morning routine. after watching aileen of lavendaire talk about “morning pages,” i started writing three pages in my journal each morning. it’s replaced my happiness planner because i love the feeling of doing a massive braindump when i wake up.
part of what makes me so excited to write is i love my journal and pens. you don’t have to be a stationary geek like me to get into a nice moleskin journal and good pen — trust me on this.
hire a baby/pet/partnersitter
being alone, free of stress and distractions, is a great way to relieve stress and reconnect with yourself. this is especially true if you have children, and their needs dominate your daily life. but parents aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a sitter. you can hire a petsitter and take an overnight trip or buy your partner a movie ticket while you treat yourself to a few hours of solitude.
learn a new skill
learning a new skill boosts your feelings of self-efficacy and self-esteem. it’s a great way to invest in yourself and tap into your creativity. been wondering how to use your camera on the manual setting? take a class. want to learn how to make pottery? take a class. love to eat, but can’t cook? take a class. if your time is limited or you prefer online learning, give skillshare a try. i took one of their classes to help grow my instagram following and learned some super valuable tips.
there are tons of other ways that you can use your money to invest in happiness. this short list is meant to get your brain churning about how to use money not just on material objects, but as a tool to enhance your self-care regimen.
what have you bought that made you happier? leave a comment below!